Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Baptism of our Lord

“Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful in their calling to be Your children and inheritors with him of everlasting life.”

We are inclined to think of baptism as a once-in-a-lifetime event. For some, it happened when they were only a few days old. And it is supposed to be good for life! Which of course, this is true. Baptism is not repeatable because of the nature of baptism. Baptism needs to be renewed by the repeated renewal of baptismal vows. We are baptized in to Christ but once but we remember our baptism on a daily basis. God is ever faithful and He needs not repeat His promises to us. If we forget or break our baptismal promises it’s not God who has gone back on His promise of grace.

A special service has been prepared for this purpose, for us to remember our baptism. Why we need to re-affirm our baptism, there are several reasons.

1. It is a renewed repentance for sins since baptism.

A. When Christ died on Calvary’s cross He died once for sin.

1. All sin has been paid for period! All sin, every single sin has been paid for. Each and every sin has been addressed. The receipt reads: “Paid in full!”

2. You now stand as a redeemed child of God.

B. When you need forgiveness you can rely on the Savior to act on your behalf.

1. He promised this to St. Paul. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

2. When you come to Him in prayer, seeking His grace come and speak boldly.

C. In Baptism your old sinful self, that is, your sinful nature, the Old Adam was defeated. What does such baptizing with water indicate? It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with hall sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

2. As we reaffirm baptism today it is a repeated confession of faith.

A. Baptism identifies us, it defines us as Christians.

1. It teaches us that we live by faith.

2. It teaches us that we are a people of grace.

3. It teaches us that our life is lived always under the shadow of the cross. St, Paul writes in Romans, chapter six: “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4

B. Your baptism is something you can never loose. Like a parent’s love it is always there. You can walk away from it, but it will never walk away from you

3. As we reaffirm baptism we re-established our relationship with God.

A. Your were named a child of God through your baptism.
1. God’s own child, I gladly say it:
I am baptized into Christ!
He because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free
Lasting to eternity!

2. He that believes and is baptized
Shall see the Lord’s salvation;
Baptized into the death of Christ,
He is a new creation.
Thro’ Christ’s redemption he shall stand
Among the glorious heav’nly band
Of every tribe and nation.

B. Baptism is all an act of God.

1. In love He created faith in you.

2. In love He sustains that faith every day.

3. In love He keeps you as His own.

4. As we reaffirm Baptism there is an increased gift of the Spirit

A. He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

B. He did this in great measure. Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. Titus 3:6-8

Our school’s mission statement speaks specifically of our work together and the life we live as redeemed baptized Christians. We reach, teach and send in Christ. Through Jesus Christ, it is the mission of Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School to reach our children with the love of Christ, teach them of God’s Word and world, and send them out as faithful stewards in God’s kingdom. May this describe our life together – not only within our Wyneken Association but here at home in our Friedheim family! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Small Catechism, Baptism Part 4 Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It stanza 1 ibid He that Believes and is Baptized The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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